Christian University Lecture Series Discusses Islam and the West

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Public invited to series of George Fox University-hosted sessions that will help attendees understand the current controversies surrounding Islam.

Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Conversation.

The topic of Islam and its relation to the West will be the theme of a lecture and discussion series hosted by George Fox University this fall.

The “Islam and the West” sessions, featuring speakers from across the state and country, are open to the public free of charge. Sessions will be held in Room 105 of the university’s Hoover Academic Building from 7 to 8 p.m. on Monday nights.

“The lecture series is a forum for those trying to understand current events, claims of definition and identity and policy debates,” said co-director Elizabeth Todd. “Topics in this lecture series give background for understanding current controversies as well as long-term perspective for future questions about Islam and the West.”

Todd stressed the sessions will not center around academic principles, theoretical challenges, or questions for debate. They instead will emphasize being in community with Muslim neighbors, at work and in civic organizations. The series seeks to help people with honest questions get information that will help them understand the current controversies surrounding Islam.

Presenters will speak on a wide variety of topics ranging from the complexity of Muslim communities to understanding the lives of people in Afghanistan. There will be a panel for people to share their experiences about being neighbors to Muslims and an evening devoted to interfaith dialogue sponsored by Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon.

Following is a presentation schedule and synopsis of each session.

September 20: “The ‘Muslim Community?’” Grant Farr is the associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Science at Portland State University. He has written extensively on Afghanistan and has researched U.S. foreign policy in Afghanistan. He will speak about the complexity of Muslim communities around the world.

September 27: “Being a Muslim in America.” A panel of local Muslims will talk about their lives in America and approaches to integration with American popular culture.

October 4: “Women’s Lives in Pakistan and Afghanistan.” Anita Weiss is a professor of international studies at University of Oregon. She specializes in development issues and gender.

October 11: “Fundamentalism and Militancy: Islamic Edition.” Yanal Vwich is a detective at the Seattle Police Department, and Arsalan Bukhari is the executive director of CAIR-WA. They will address issues of violence and peace in Islam.

October 18: “Reconstruction of Afghanistan.” Zaher Wahab is a professor of education at Lewis and Clark University. He specializes in education reconstruction under conditions of war and will speak about the lives of ordinary people in Afghanistan and foreign organizations that are trying to make a difference there.

October 25: “Are You my Neighbor?” A panel will share personal experiences about being neighbors to Muslims in America and abroad.

November 1: “ Models of Missions.” Ron Stansell is a retired professor of religion at George Fox University. His specialties are in the world Christian movement, cross-cultural communications, world religions, and issues in missions. He will speak about various models Christians have used to communicate with Muslims about Christian faith and practices.

November 8: “Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Conversation.” Learn about interfaith dialogue by listening to people who have experienced it as they share incentives, challenges and awards.

November 22: “Liberal Arts and Critical Issues Research Exhibit.” Senior research teams present their findings on Islam.

The Liberal Arts and Critical Issues course is a required part of the general education program taken by students their senior year. The course is designed to encourage students to integrate their specialized knowledge and general education with Christian faith, in the context of addressing a public issue of current significance, according to co-director Caitlin Corning, a professor in the university’s history major.

For more information on the course or the speakers, contact Corning 503-554-2673.

George Fox University is ranked by Forbes as the top Christian college in the Pacific Northwest and among the highest Christian colleges in the country. George Fox is the only Christian university in the Pacific Northwest classified by U.S. News & World Report as a national university. More than 3,300 students attend classes on the university’s campus in Newberg, Ore., and at teaching centers in Portland, Salem, and Redmond, Ore., and Boise, Idaho. George Fox offers bachelor’s degrees in more than 40 majors, degree-completion programs for working adults, five seminary degrees, and 12 master’s and doctoral degrees.

Caitlin Corning
Co-Director, Liberal Arts and Critical Issues Program


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